World Superbike Championship title contender Marco Melandri has predicted a tough pair of races at Portimao, despite out-qualifying key rival Max Biaggi in fourth place.
The Italian is looking to bounce back from the double DNF he suffered at the Nurburgring, which has subsequently put him 9.5 points behind Biaggi with only two rounds of the season remaining.
However, while he had the measure of his rival in Superpole, Melandri was sounding cautious about his victory chances. Admitting the BMW isn't to his liking on when equipped with race tyres, Melandri feels he will need to be aggressive at the start before settling into a rhythm.
“I think our starting position is better than we expected because we were struggling to get a fast single lap, though we did improve a little bit with the qualifying tyre.
“The races won't be easy. We are still not happy with the handling of the bike on race tyres. Every time we have more chattering we struggle a lot. I have to be careful in every corner, and with every braking.
“In addition to this, it is a very bouncy track and the bike moves sideways a lot. There are many fast turns, and the last corner especially is difficult. The races will be tough, but we will try to improve the bike for tomorrow and make a good start. I will try to overtake right at the start and then we have to see how good our race pace will be.”